Exploring Non-traditional Attitudes to Gender Through Children's Picture Books.

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201706054645
Title: Exploring Non-traditional Attitudes to Gender Through Children's Picture Books.
Author: Greeman, Tessa
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Humanistinen tiedekunta, Maailman kulttuurien laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of World Cultures
Helsingfors universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för världens kulturer
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2017
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201706054645
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/191132
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Area and Cultural Studies
Alue- ja kulttuurintutkimus
Region- och kulturstudier
Abstract: Children’s picture books play a crucial role in the education and socialisation of the young child, giving them both critical insight into literature, and ideas about life and its possibilities outside of their own immediate experience. In this thesis I have chosen to look more closely at portrayals of so termed ‘non-traditional’ gender identities and behaviours in children’s picture books. I undertook an analysis of 8 books depicting various non-traditional manifestations of gender, covering atypical gendered behaviour, transgender identity or genderlessness along with 6 interviews with educators and parents of children under the age of 7, The thesis explores how these books and ideas fit into an English speaking, European society, in this case based in Finland. The interviewee’s and analysis highlighted areas in which the stories could be problematic within the given context. Issues such as the subject matter, the style and tone were all held to be too controversial for young readers. Looking at the stories through an intersectional lens, they showed little diversity outside of the gender topic. Overall the analysis demonstrated the disconnect between the books and the English speaking, European society in Finland. These findings made it clear that the possibility of children in this context gaining access to stories where gender is not always seen as a finite and binary concept was low. As a final conclusion I created a story of my own. With a protagonist who does not conform to any gender at all, the story was created as the product of the interviews and analysis of the original 8 picture books, with the idea that it could be comfortably read to a class of children within the European, English speaking community in Finland.
Subject: Gender
Area and Cultural Studies
Intercultural Encounters
Intersectionality
Children's books
Social constructionism


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